Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 16 Preview: Skins in Search of a Christmas Miracle

Chicago Lauren Byrwa


The Chicago Bears look to play the role of the Grinch and all but essentially end the Redskins playoff hopes

With two games remaining in the season the Washington Redskins still have a chance to make the NFC Playoffs. For starters, they’d better hope they come ready to play against the Chicago Bears. The Bears are 3-11 but they a play hard. John Fox’s group is losers in five of their past six games. With the lone win being at home to the 49ers two weeks ago. Chicago has lost to playoff caliber teams in the Bucs, Giants, Titans, Lions, and Packers, their past four losses have been by a combined and 18 points.

Scouting the Bears

Ezekiel Elliot is getting the mainstream attention but fellow rookie running back Jordan Howard has been a revelation in Chicago. The fifth-round pick out of Indiana has 1,056 yards, on 211 carries with an impressive 5.0 ypc average. Howard also has six rushing touchdowns and is an adept receiver with 28 catches 283 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins defense will be sure to get a heavy dose of Howard. Jonathan Stewart earned his first 100-yard game of the season against Washington’s defense. Howard has five 100-yard games in 2016. Expect that number to increase to six after Saturday’s game. Stewart punished the Redskins Monday night and Howard is a similar type player at 6’1 223 lbs.

Bears quarterback Matt Barkley is beginning to make a name for himself in the NFL. Since Week 12 he’s been starting because of another season ending injury to Jay Cutler. Barkley doesn’t have impressive numbers as he’s been more of the “game manager” type, but that’s more indicative of the talent he’s surrounded with. Alshon Jeffery was banned for four games but has still managed to post decent numbers. Jeffery has 46 catches, 719 catches, and two touchdowns. On offense the Bears average 17.7 ppg which puts them at 29th in the NFL. They’re middle of the pack offensively in yardage with 351.6 ypg

Defensively, the Bears are a soundly coached team. They don’t have house hold names on defense but John Fox has a defense that’s playing pretty good ball. They are a top ten defense in terms of yards allowed 335.4 ypg (ninth) and 16th in ppg at 22.9. However, they have shown an inability to stop the run. The Packers gashed Chicago for 226 rushing yards last week as Ty Montgomery was the leading rusher with 162 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.

Feed Fat Rob and Crew

As they say drastic times call for drastic measures. After fumbling near the goal line in week seven against the Detroit Lions, Matt Jones has been relegated to the bench for the past eight weeks. With Washington fighting for the playoffs their best players should be on the field. Jones has had issues fumbling but after seeing teammate Rob Kelley carry the load, you’d have to think it would light a fire under Matt Jones. Jay Gruden insists that the team hasn’t given up on Jones and if that’s the case he should play Sunday.

With a three-headed monster off Robert Kelley, Matt Jones, and shifty third-down back Chris Thompson, Washington would finally get the balance they want on offense.

Last matchup between the Skins & Bears

A year ago, Washington defeated Chicago 24-21 to earn their fist road win of the 2015 season. Jordan Reed led all receivers with nine catches, 120 yards, and a touchdown. Kirk Cousins finished 24/31 with 300 yards, a rushing and passing touchdown and an interception. Cousins also posted a 100.4 quarterback rating. Matt Jones also saved the season with a crucial third down conversion late in the game.

Why Washington will Win?

After being embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Monday, Jay Gruden and his team will be eager to make that game a distant memory with a win in Chicago. The Bears are a tough group, but they lack the playmakers to contend with Washington’s offense. Chicago generates yards but like Washington, they have issues scoring points. A renewed emphasis on the ground game could do wonders for the Skins on offense. Expect a heavy dose of Rob Kelley, as it will be able to open up the passing game.

If the Redskins defense can’t contain quarterback Matt Barkley, they’ll have a tough time trying to stop any quarterback in the playoffs. Barkley has stabilized the position in Chicago but the Redskins are a desperate team and they should come out swinging in the “Windy City”

Washington 28 Chicago 20